When I saw the first one through the window on my way out to the garage, clambering gingerly over my ancient camo Chuck Taylors, I thought it was cute.
I couldn’t tell if it was a mouse or a baby rat but, at that size and location, it really didn’t matter to me all that much.
For anyone in the Tampa Bay area with fruit trees or a house built before the ’80s, rats are a familiar sight. Like most of my friends who own property, I long ago resigned myself to seeing them race along the top of the privacy fence, and occasionally to hearing one scratch around the crawlspace under the house. Really, what am I going to do about it? I’ve strung the chicken wire across the openings. I’ve kept the yard free of brush piles and debris. It doesn’t matter; if the rats want your oranges or your birdseed or your shade, they’re going to find a way.
That’s kind of what rats do.